MILAN, Italy, March 7. THE Italian Grand Prix kicked off on night one with a pair of top five swims in the world as the assembled swimmers shot off some fireworks in Milan.
Italian superstar Federica Pellegrini climbed her way to fourth in the world rankings in the women’s 200-meter backstroke with a 2:09.56. She’s behind only Belinda Hocking (2:06.40), Meagen Nay (2:08.19) and Elizabeth Simmonds (2:08.91). Carlotta Zofkova finished second in 2:12.41 with Ambra Esposito taking third in 2:15.28.
Pellegrini, an Olympic gold medalist, continues an impressive career that peaked with a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well as Swimming World’s World Swimmer of the Year honor in 2009. She’s definitely still not even close to done, having finished second to Missy Franklin in the 200 free at the 2013 World Championships. A focused Pellegrini could spell trouble for plenty of other swimmers.
Hungary’s Gergo Kis vaulted to the top of the world rankings in the men’s 1500-meter freestyle with a 15:01.71. That swim made him the closest to breaking 15:00 this year out of anyone else in the division. Australia’s Mack Horton owned the previous top time with a 15:03.29 with South Korea’s Tae Hwan Park third in 15:03.38. Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri (15:10.87) moved up to seventh overall in the world, while Gabriele Detti took third in 15:20.47.
Italy’s Stefania Pirozzi vaulted into the top 10 with an eighth-ranked effort of 2:10.15 to win the women’s 200-meter fly finale. Alessia Polieri hit the wall in second in 2:12.96, while Emanuela Albenzi took third overall in 2:15.15.
France’s Camille Muffat just missed the top 10 in the world in the women’s 200-meter free with a 1:58.27, while Italy’s Alice Mizzau pushed her the whole way with a second-place 1:58.53. Italy’s Martina De Memme wound up third in 2:01.54.
Italy’s Filippo Magnini moved to within a second of the top 10 in the men’s 200-meter free with a victorious effort of 1:49.64. Russia’s Mikhail Polishchuck, representing the international pro team the ADN Swim Project, took second in 1:50.65. Italy’s Gianluca Maglia posted a third-place time of 1:50.94.
In an exciting finish, Matteo Pelizzari touched out Francesco Pavone, 1:59.32 to 1:59.42, in the men’s 200-meter fly. Federico Bussolin rounded out the top three with a time of 2:02.26 in an equally close finish ahead of Francesco Giordano’s 2:02.28 for fourth.
Damiano Lestingi stopped the clock in 2:01.45 for the men’s 200-meter backstroke triumph with Emanuel Turchi taking second in 2:02.90. Federico Turrini earned third in 2:03.05. Francesca Fangio followed with a 2:30.39 to win the women’s 200-meter breast. Martina Carraro (2:31.56) and Giulia Verona (2:33.10) placed second and third. Luca Pizzini then won the men’s 200-meter breast in 2:13.42. Edoardo Giorgetti (2:16.53) and Claudio Fossi (2:17.31) snagged second and third.
Martina Caramignoli topped the women’s 800-meter free in 8:35.45 with Diletta Carli snaring second in 8:42.95. Ilaria Raimondi rounded out the podium with a third-place 8:46.40.